Working Title of PhD: Democracy and epistocracy reconciled? The Scottish Police Authority and police governance in Scotland after 2012
Year commenced PhD study: 2013
Institution/Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Full or part-time: Full time
PhD Supervisors: Dr Alistair Henry, Dr Andy Aitchison
Synopsis: The aim of this research is to explore how police accountability is managed and delivered in the new governance landscape since the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 came in to effect.
The establishment of the Scottish Police Authority tasked with maintaining Police Scotland, promoting policing principles and holding the Chief Constable to account makes it a natural focus for this study. Recent cases of stop and search and standing firearms authority and the subsequent debates have raised very potent issues about governance and regulation of police powers and the abolishment of local police boards has created a perceived democratic deficit in Scottish police governance. This research explores how the SPA, as an expert body, promotes local and democratic accountability and what does the notion of ‘operational independence’ of the chief constable mean in the new governance landscape?
This study adopts a qualitative approach and interviews will be conducted with a cross-section of interested stakeholders within the new governance landscape.
It is hoped that this study will not only be useful in exploring and documenting in-depth the role played by the SPA in the new governance landscape but also put forward recommendations for promoting good governance and fostering good working partnerships between the SPA, Police Scotland and all other stakeholders.
Keywords: Epistocracy, SPA, Police Accountability